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La Concretezza: elements of a philosophical theory of culture in Eugenio Garin's Renaissance

Grant number: 13/21946-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2014
Effective date (End): February 28, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Olgária Chain Féres Matos
Grantee:Élcio de Gusmão Verçosa Filho
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project is an inquiry into the notion of concretezza that is at the core of the historiographical practice of Eugenio Garin (1909-2004). Its intention is to assess if and how this concept, which is peculiar to the author, is capable of providing elements for the articulation of an original theory of culture that would go beyond the study of the Italian Renaissance, Garin's primary object of research. In order to do that, a thorough examination is needed of the way in which he developed it in his Renaissance studies. Garin's answer to the challenges involved in the difficult task of reading the Renaissance was to reject the grand explanatory schemes provided by the "scientific" philosophies of history of the 19th century to understand it as the time of "culture", construing "culture" as accurately as possible as the concrete universe of human making and living in its manifold manifestations, for which study such guiding concepts of cultural studies as "system" and "structure" are not useful. On the other hand, for Garin this making is not mere practice devoid of thought, something inimical to thought, but the expression of a precise philosophy that was for the most part developed by non-philosophers from a certain reading of Neo-Platonism, a philosophy of practice that inspires and is embodied in the concerns and activities that are typical of the period. For Garin, Humanism quite peculiarly defined is the complex and self-conscious elaboration of this vision, a vision that is itself a method that seeks to apprehend that which Garin names la Concretezza. The central hypothesis of this study is that Garin's Concretezza must and should be understood as the guiding notion of a peculiar theory of the meaning of human making as culture, and of Man himself as (self)making. The philosophical meaning of this notion and this theory in its sources and precise articulations is the particular object of the present study. (AU)

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